John Caley will beone of the invited speakers at this event about greening your home, either through retrofitting or as part of a renovation or new build. 28 September 7.15pm at the Nelson Heather Centre, Banksia Room, 5 Jacksons Rd Warriewood. Organised by permaculture northern beaches Details in the flyer below
Need some professional guidance on your sustainable renovation or new build? Thinking about solar power or efficient water? Redesigning your garden or wanting to create green roof?
John Caley will be one of the sustainability experts you can meet with to discuss your project.
Get FREE advice and tips from Australia’s leading green architects and experts on energy efficient products, solar, gardens and more at Speed Date a Sustainability Expert, coming to Randwick on 4 September. Registrations are required.
Our 315 litre 30 evacuated tube solar hot water system produces more than enough hot water for efficient but unrestricted use by the five people in our household throughout most of the year, but last winter we had to turn on the booster for a couple of hours on several days. With the cold season approaching, I decided the evacuated tubes might benefit from a clean as they had not had one in the 5 years since installation. Climbing onto the flat corrugated steel roof where they are installed my suspicions were confirmed. Despite recent intense torrential rain, the tubes were blotched with sooty deposits - possibly originating from the large Meleuca tree in front of the house.
Luckily cleaning the tubes was easy. I didn't want to use any chemicals because the roof is part of our rainwater system collection area. Instead I just wiped them clean with a micro-fibre cloth labelled 'glass', rinsing it frequently in a couple of buckets. The closest three tubes in the photo below have been cleaned. The whole operation took about 20 minutes.
No measure was made of how much improvement was gained by cleaning the tubes but after I finished I watched with satisfaction as the controller showed the system continuously heating the circulating water by about 10 degrees as it passes through the manifold. Hooray for showering in solar heated rainwater!
The Total Environment Centre and Greenpeace have released a handy new version of their green electricity guide in which they rate the greeness of Australian electricity retailers by state. Have a look and see if you can change to a supplier with better environmental credentials from your current one. Those in Qld, NSW and Vic. have the option of buying their power from either Powershop or Diamond Energy which both received a much higher rating than all the rest. There is usually no transfer fee, no lock-in contract and the price you pay for electricity should be similar.
TIme to get an electric bicycle
If you need to get somewhere in the city quickly, the first choice for most of us is driving our car or catching a cab. Yes, you might get there more quickly and cheaply by riding a bicycle, but you might also end up tired, stressed and dripping with sweat.
Electric bikes can give you the option of making the same (or maybe shorter via closed streets) trip as quickly as in a car and still arrive as fresh as a daisy. And then there are all the other benefits.
Saving money - They are a little more expensive than an equivalent non-electric bike but you could buy four of them and still pay less than buying a second car! The running cost is trivial - something like fifteen cents to fully charge a battery. No parking costs, registration fees, little maintenance and third party personal insurance though a group like Bicycle NSW is very cheap.
A better deal on the road - because with an electric bicycle, you start as quickly as cars and often travel at the same speed as the traffic - resulting in less issues of vehicles passing or wanting to pass you. With an electric bicycle, you can safely use the road more fully - for example cross lanes to a right hand turn lane - in a way you would never have attempted without the electric assist.
Plenty of parking - ride direct to the building entrance, lock your bike and walk right in. No need to find a shower and get changed.
And of course at the same time you are cutting greenhouse emissions, reducing road congestion - and did I mention, it’s fun!
The moment most people realise how good an electric bicycle can be is the moment they ride one. Sydney has several good electric bike shops including Sydney Electric Bike and Glowworm Bicycles where you can try from a wide range of off the shelf options. I recommend you try one.